If God’s Been Good, Why Did You Get Stage 4 Cancer?
Today, I happened across a song from a couple of years back by Bethel Music entitled, “The Goodness of God.” The song brought memories of many questions I had during my trials of diagnosis, treatment, and the after-effects. A few of the lyrics above reminded me of some hard questions I had for God. They are the same questions that many people ask when they endure suffering. I’m not going to do a dissertation, I’m going to share with you what I’ve found.
“…For Your mercy never failed me and all my days, I’ve been held in Your hands… And all my life You have been faithful And all my life You have been so, so good…”The Goodness of God
It’s normal to ask questions when we suffer. I know that God isn’t offended by these questions that come from our sincere painfilled hearts. For me, some of the questions have been: Why did I get cancer? Why was I attacked repeatedly without help or defense? Why do I struggle with Fibromyalgia? Why do some prayers get answered, and others don’t? Why do the good die young, while mean people live long lives? Or the less significant, but most popular entry on my question list is, “Why do I gain weight when I eat carbs?”
Brilliant Questions, Genius Minds, and Still Suffering Blind
Theologians and philosophers have wrestled with these questions for millennia, and still, there remain only theories, no definitive answers. I surmise that if some of the most brilliant minds haven’t figured out the answers over thousands of years, maybe they aren’t for us to know this side of heaven. They say that the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing while expecting different results. There aren’t any answers to some questions. However, I do have a few questions for my questions. Do our finite minds have the capacity to answer eternal questions? So then, what good can come from me banging my head against the wall over an issue that has no solution? What then are we supposed to do with those questions? Why don’t we have an answer to our suffering? Are we supposed to suffer blindly?
Questioning My Questioning
The age-old, endless questions taunt us for an answer, mocking our inability to figure them out. Honestly, I’ve wasted too much time asking why carbs put weight on me when I love them so much. It seems like a small issue compared to why childhood cancer exists, and it is. However, it’s the same line of thinking. Asking questions with no answer gets us nowhere. I can ask all day long and obsess about it every day of my life, but asking why isn’t going to help me. It will only make me miserable. It’s a threat to our sanity to continually ask questions that have no answer. When it comes to the tragic, painful questions, I had to ask myself if it was worth staying mad with or remaining suspicious of God and hold on to my anger, bitterness, or pet doctrines. Thankfully cancer expedited this process because I didn’t feel the time or luxury (lol luxury) to sit in that state for long. If you think about it, both schools of thought require faith: One is faith that God is good, and the other is that God is mean or doesn’t care.
It’s a threat to our sanity to continually ask questions that have no answer.
Maybe we should reconsider the definition of God’s goodness. Do we think the only way God demonstrates is love is by allowing us to avoid hardship and heartbreak? Not one of us gets out of life without difficulty, pain, sickness, and hardships. What we focus on becomes powerful. Our quality of life boils down to our thoughts ourselves, our beliefs, and our judgments. If we allow self-pity to rule our thoughts (I am guilty of this) then we see through victim glasses and it blinds us from the reviving goodness in life. I faced death, I struggled with fear. We must be realistic but we must not allow fear to dominate our focus. Even though we have a lot to feel sorry about, it doesn’t help us to put on the victim’s glasses and allow it to color our life and control our thoughts.
The Only Answerable Question
Do we choose to see where God is good to us or choose to ignore it because he didn’t help us? Just because he didn’t answer my desperate prayers, doesn’t mean he’s not there for me. It means that he’s there in a different way. Do I throw everything good about God out because I don’t agree with him? Cancer afforded me the desperation I needed to toss up the answers that I don’t have in hot potato fashion to God. Once I decided to build on the goodness that I know of him, that I began to see his love for me. If I had died, would God be less good? The answer is no. Seeing as God provided a way for us to be forgiven and end up in heaven though not one of us deserves it? He is good. That is the only answerable question.
…according to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you1 Peter 1:3-4
Treasures Within Harships
Through cancer, I renewed my assurance of my place in heaven. Not because sufferance gets us in but it forced me to prepare for unavoidable death. Would I want cancer again? No way, but I’m grateful for the beauty I received from that experience. My eyes opened to the light God I’ve not seen without the darkness of cancer. At that point in my life, nothing else could have restored my faith in humanity. I got kindness and love from God and people that I hadn’t had in a long time. I discovered a loving, mighty, funny, brilliant, and powerful God. I got to see him working in my life throughout this cancer journey. I’m looking forward to sharing these events. I can honestly say that I now sing that song with gratefulness. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Him and His goodness and faithfulness to me.
My eyes opened to a side of God I’ve not seen without the darkness of cancer.
I believe that part of our heavenly rewards is that we will have a vast, eternal mind unencumbered by the limits of time, dimension, and finite human reasoning. It’s there that we will have the capacity to see the big picture, and we will have automatic answers to most of our questions. We will one day know the answers to my less dire questions too. Such as: If I’m not supposed to eat carbs, why did Jesus choose to break bread with the disciples? Why did God send manna in the desert? How come bread on the seder and in communion? Why did he say that he was the “Bread of Life?
The Bread Questions
In the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, and God mentions bread almost 500 times! He said in the book of James that he will never tempt us, but talking about bread is a clear temptation for me. So there must be something else to it. You think I’m kidding, but I will be studying this. You can bet that if I don’t know the carb answer upon entry to Pearly Gates, (or through the Pearly Gates however that happens) it’ll definitely be on my list of things to discuss with God, as I’m having a cup of something on my heavenly front porch. Here’s hoping you’ll join me there one day, but I appreciate you joining me today.
Take A Moment
Take a moment with this song in the link below, and let it wash over you as you think of the good things He has done in your life. No matter what you’ve been through; what you think or feel, God is real and he is really there for you. He’s in the darkness, through the questions, doubts, and fears. He loves you with everlasting love. If you have a difficult time believing it, just ask him to show you.
I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
Again I will build you, and you shall be built… Love, God